THE TALE OF PRINCE KEVIN

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Once upon a simpler time, a Hammertime, when the words “dot” and “com” had yet to be perfected, when mall hair ruled the Earth, and “direct television” meant you turned on the television and there was a picture, there lived a kind, talented young knight known as Prince Kevin.

Prince Kevin called a purple and orange Madhouse his home.  In the context we use here, however, this Madhouse was a happy place, filled with people who cheered for tall warriors in violet sneakers, who wore cowboy letters across their chests, and very, very short shorts.  This Madhouse was in the desert, and Prince Kevin came to that desert from the Land of Cleve, where he was neither loved nor wanted, along with Mark the Massive and Tyrone, the Man of Many Faces (he was a role player), in exchange for two guys named Larry and Mike.  Mark and Tyrone were valued additions, but Prince Kevin was the prize.

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Why I Dig Sean Singletary

The Suns acquired rookie point guard Sean Singletary from the Rockets in a trade for D.J. Strawberry. Here’s why I like the addition, reasons listed alphabetically:

A – as in Assists. Sean’s a true point guard, raised in a city known for their great point guards, Philadelphia. He’s been running offenses since he picked up a basketball. He knows how to find guys on the court, and he’s not scared of going to the basket, taking punishment, and dishing off. For all his many gifts, D.J. just wasn’t going to become a real point guard. Now the Suns have real depth at the position, which will come in handy as Goran Dragic learns the NBA way. Yes, Singletary is unproven in the league as well, but he’s played against NBA talent during college and in the off-seasons – and done well.

B – as in Best, as in Singletary played in the best college basketball conference in the country, the ACC (so did D.J., by the way). He ran his team against Duke and North Carolina four times a year. He knows pressure atmospheres and hostile crowds – it doesn’t get any rougher than playing on those teams’ home floors…in college or in the pros. [Read more...]

The Doggiest of Dog Days

 

Barry Gossage/NBAE Photos

Barry Gossage/NBAE Photos

Shouldn’t baseball be over by now? I’m tired of pennant races that don’t involve actual pennants. I’m bored with hearing about the Yankees and the Red Sox as if they were the US and Russia during the Cold War and not a single other team – or country – matters. I’m sick of the speculation over whether this will finally be the year the Cubs win a World Series…Long streaks of championship futility only matter to me if we’re talking about the Suns finally bringing home the big trophy. I’m exhausted by trade deadlines and endless commentary over whether or not the acquisition of this middle reliever/fifth inning specialist will make the difference for Houston, trying to climb from fourth place to third, or whatever.

Isn’t it time to wrap up football as well? I say a final decision on whatever it is Brett Favre is going through should just be declared the Super Bowl for the year, the winner is either Favre or the Packers, and we all just forget the season and move right along. Honestly, I haven’t seen this many people so excited over the start of camp since my classmates hit the last day of school in fifth grade. [Read more...]

Welcome, Matt!

Josh Greene / Suns.com Photos

 

When last season ended with that loss to San Antonio, and Mike D’Antoni departed for Gotham, it was hard to be optimistic.

All the talk was about the Suns’ aging core, the “failure” of the trade for Shaquille O’Neal, and the futility of the run-and-gun system in the playoffs. Sourpusses (like me) predicted a downturn in fortune and some years of rebuilding. After all, how much could the team change?

Well.

Step One, hire Terry Porter as Head Coach. A pro’s pro as a player, he’s got the respect of everyone on the team. Heck, after all the times he tortured the Suns in the playoffs as a member of the Portland Trailblazers, I certainly respect him. He knows defense, he knows offense. He can teach. And he’s committed to playing a deep rotation. [Read more...]

Beechen Draft Night Diary

I searched (unsuccessfully) for an agent, went to pre-draft camp (and all I got was a t-shirt), and worked out privately for the Suns’ brass. And now we’ll see if all the hard work and preparation will be worth it.Herewith, my draft night diary, so you can share in all the joy, tears and anticipation of my bright athletic future.

All times Pacific.

2:30 PM: The first thing you have to do, if you’re an NBA draft prospect and you expected to be selected, is make sure you’re wearing your finest, flashiest suit. You want to announce to the world, here I am, ready to ruin your retinas and proud of it! Remember Joakim Noah’s duds last year? I found them a bit restrained. So I go to my local clothier (I won’t give them free promotion, but let’s just say their name rhymes with “Shmoss Dress For Less”) and head for the suit department. I ask the experienced salesperson on duty (he’s been working there since high school got out a few weeks ago) for his finest, single-breasted, purple and orange ensemble. “I’m going to be drafted by the Suns,” I tell him proudly. Not surprisingly, they have just such a suit. Unfortunately, it’s wool, and it’s eighty degrees in Los Angeles today. Double-unfortunately, the words “Harvey’s Singing Telegrams” are stitched across the back of the jacket. But the suit calls to me like…like…like a suit that’s calling to me. I plunk down my $19.99 and head into the sunshine. I’m sweating before I get to the car. [Read more...]

My Private Suns Workout

Having made myself eligible for the NBA draft, I notified all teams that I was available to work out privately. None of the teams responded, but that’s okay. I only really want to play for the Suns anyway. Of course, the Suns didn’t respond either, but I assume that’s just because their invitation got lost in the mail.

How hush-hush was this workout, you ask? Let me put it like this: All parties were so desperate to keep it out of the press that there was no pre-workout communication between the Suns and myself. No plane was sent to ferry me from Los Angeles to the Valley; I drove myself. No swank hotel reservations were made in my name; I stayed with my mother (she wasn’t expecting me, either – I’m telling you, this was very hush-hush).

When I got to US Airways Center, the Suns continued the subterfuge, just in case there were any nosy NBA reporters lurking around. The team brass pretended they had no idea I’d be coming. In fact, they pretended they’d never heard of me. They carried the act so far, I actually waited in the arena lobby for a good six hours before anyone even came out and spoke to me – that’s the sign of a first-class organization! [Read more...]

Suns Fans: Fill in the Blank

“I’d rather root for _________ than the Lakers.”

Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah: Beechen Goes to Camp


Adam Beechen in his training camp gear.
(Adam Beechen)

I thought, you know, it’d be me and a bunch of the other prospects, sitting around a bonfire in the woods, singing songs, roasting marshmallows, sleeping in bunks and telling ghost stories. We’d share bad meals and “bug juice” in the Big Cabin. We’d do some crafts (I’d been wanting to make my Mom a new dreamcatcher), go swimming in the lake, have some singalongs, and best of all, stage a few panty raids on the girls’ cabin. Most importantly, we’d have a chance to bond, share our dreams about the future, and just have a great time in the fresh air.

Well.

I got out of the Orlando airport with my backpack on my back and my sleeping bag under one arm and hopped in a cab, asking the driver to take me to NBA camp, and next thing I knew, we’d pulled up in front of a gym. Okay, I figured, the bus must leave from here for the real camp. But no. I stood in line to check in, and the guy asked me what hotel I was staying in. Hotel? Then I was issued a practice uniform (a camp shirt!) and told to report the next day.

I gotta confess, I was a little confused. I mean, I had three boxes of graham crackers in my backpack and I was ready to make some s’mores! I was ready to meet my bunkmate! And dude, where were the girls? [Read more...]

Beechen Declares There's a Draft

Adam Beechen hopes to follow in Amare Stoudemire’s footsteps and be the next Suns’ star chosen through the draft.
(NBAE Photos)

By now, I’m sure you’ve heard that I’ve made myself eligible for the 2008 NBA Draft. What? You weren’t watching my press conference at 4 a.m. on Sunday on the Tennis Channel? It was on just between a replay of the 1983 US Open Men’s Doubles Quarterfinals and a really interesting documentary on how to improve your lob.

Well, in any case, I’ve taken the plunge. Okay, I didn’t play in college…or high school…but that just means I haven’t developed any bad habits. And I may be a little older than your typical prospect, but my knees haven’t seen the wear and tear of countless competitive basketball games. And yes, I can’t jump, but the bright side there is that I’m not likely to get faked off my feet.

So you can see why I think I’m a cinch for the NBA. In the weeks leading up to the June 26th draft, I’ll be letting you peek behind the scenes at my journey from Superfan to professional basketball player for (hopefully) your Phoenix Suns, culminating in a draft-day diary that I’m sure will capture all the excitement and emotion of my life changing forever.

The first thing I decided I needed was an agent. It’s never too early to get started on endorsements, getting my name out there in the media, making sure teams are aware of me. Generate a little buzz. Luckily, I live in the buzz capital of America, Los Angeles. You can’t swing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar around here, without knocking over an agent. So I went right to the phone book and called the first agency listed: [Read more...]

Suns Hop on Coaching Carousel

“Here,” meaning without a coach and without an immediate plan for succession.

With Mike D’Antoni’s departure, the Suns are back on the coaching carousel.
(NBAE Photos)

In fact, the last time it happened for the Suns was in 1988, when the team looked outside the confines of the immediate organization and called on Cotton Fitzsimmons to run the bench and help rebuild the roster. And Cotton was an old pal, having coached the team for two years in the franchise’s early seasons.

Every time there’s been a coaching change in Phoenix since then, the new team leader has come from inside the organization, generally from the ranks of assistant coaches such as Paul Westphal, Danny Ainge, Frank Johnson, Scott Skiles…and Mike D’Antoni. That’s led to great continuity and organizational stability over the last twenty years. With a coach in place, the team has generally had an idea where they were going next, should the coach be fired, retire, or move on to greener pastures.

That’s not really the case, this time. New ownership, new style, new rules. And the team’s likely soon to be heading in a somewhat different direction than the one they’ve been traveling the past couple years.

I’ll miss Mike D’Antoni. We all will. He brought a lot of success and excitement to the Valley. The team was perfectly molded, for several years, to his style and preferences. And, very simply put, the pairing of D’Antoni with Steve Nash was the greatest teaming of coach and point guard since Magic Johnson and Pat Riley (sorry, Sloan and Stockton fans, but I give our guys the slight edge). [Read more...]